SEARCH 2000 Games

Saturday, September 16, 2000
From the athletes' point of view

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

 SYDNEY - For Arturo Miranda, it may have been his Olympics.

 "I was sooooo happy,'' said the diver who is still waiting to find out if he'll be able to compete, after having been afforded the chance to march with the Canadian team in the opening ceremonies.

 "I've never lived something like that before,'' he said. "I was loving every minute of it.

 "I didn't want to hear anybody say anything about my case or anything to me, I just wanted to take it all in. It was wonderful. It was absolutely amazing.

 "It was 10 times, no 20 times, any rush I've ever had before. It compensates for all the problems I had last week.

 "If they take it away from me now, it's more OK. It makes up for all the troubles of the week. I still hope I can dive, though.

 "But this was something. To march in with 100,000 people looking at you was amazing. It's more thrilling than anything. It was such a great feeling to be part of the Canadian team and for my teammates to all try to be around me because they thought it might mean they'd get on TV.''

 The Canadians arranged it so Miranda, no matter what happens regarding the Edmonton diver's status, could have this Olympic moment.

 What will happen next for Miranda? Who knows?

 "We've had various people contacting the Cubans to remove their objection and it sounds like Juan Antonio Samaranch and the IOC executive board are taking an interest. I have a level of optimism,'' said diving coach Mitch Geller of the Cubans' decision to use Rule 46 of the Olympic charter to have the former Cuban ruled ineligible to compete in Sydney.

 "I'm thrilled for Arturo that he was able to experience the opening ceremonies.''

 Miranda had no points of reference when it came to opening ceremonies, other than the 1991 Pan-Am Games.

 Shooter Susan Nattrass had plenty.

 "The march-in was terrific,'' said the four-time Olympian who competed in her first Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

 "The stadium is amazing and we got such an incredible welcome,'' she said. " The only one better, of course, was coming into Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 1976. That, I will never forget. It was incredible and very moving. To have a stadium of your countrymen and women standing and cheering you in is really mind-boggling. I know how the Aussies felt - so very emotional.

 "It was amazing to see how much the world has changed in the last 24 years,'' said the Edmonton shooter. "To me, there were two dramatic times: when the Koreans marched in under one flag and the Australians for honouring 100 years of women's participation in the Olympics. That was wonderful and very inspiring.

 "I loved the lighting of the flame with the water surrounding Cathy Freeman. Too bad the machine didn't work immediately to take the flame to the top immediately. Even though it was impressive, I still think the lighting of the flame in Barcelona was the most impressive. Remember the archer? That was amazing and very, very impressive.

 "Was the moment worth it?'' she asked. "You betcha. I feel blessed to have been able to participate here. I wouldn't have missed this moment for the world.''
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